Posts Tagged ‘nutrition’

Food As Medicine: A Client Story

Thursday, April 13th, 2023

Our THRIVES and Emily’s Pantry Nutrition Programs serve people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in most Hudson Valley counties. These programs view food as medicine to reduce the risks of dietary-related illnesses like hypertension, high-cholesterol, diabetes, and other health conditions so our clients can begin to or maintain focus on efforts on taking their medications every day. When clients take their meds, they can reach viral suppression and have undetectable viral loads—which helps our entire community, because “Undetectable Equals Untransmittable.”

A senior citizen woman receives a bag of groceries from a social worker in protective gloves.
Photo for illustrative purposes only, not our actual client.

Last fall, Teresa* relocated from Westchester to Ulster County, and it truly became an all-hands-on-deck effort to ensure she and her spouse (also a PLWHA) were linked to the services they need: Engagement and Supportive Services, Case Management, Transportation, and more. She began attending our monthly nutrition health education sessions just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday. 

Teresa has been receiving services at HVCS for 20+ years. She says HVCS “saved my life” and is a safe place to come where she doesn’t feel stigmatized, judged, or helpless. The food we provide in our nutrition programs has been vital to helping ensure that her dietary-related illnesses have been managed and allows her to fill the widening gap between the decreasing SNAP entitlements and her budget. Every month Teresa shares the meal ideas that she and her spouse came up with using the items from the bags we provided. She bravely has tried some new foods (Acorn squash! Quinoa!), with some additional hits and misses along the way. 

Since it was winter, we encouraged Teresa to get out of the house, to be physically active, and to connect with other locals who share similar interests. She has tried mall-walking and has recently joined a book club. Most importantly, she has established care with new providers that she is very happy with, and remains undetectable and virally suppressed.

  –Case report provided by Lissette Otero, Program Supervisor

*not her real name

National Nutrition Month

Monday, February 28th, 2022

March is National Nutrition Month

The SNAP Gap

Monday, February 25th, 2019

The results of a food drive for our emergency food closetsSince continued funding was uncertain during the recent government shutdown, the SNAP program (Supplemental Nutrition Access Program, formerly known as food stamps) handed out February benefits in January. The caveat for recipients, however, was that they were expected to spread those benefits over six weeks instead of four–but for a hungry family, that can be a challenge. Now that the shutdown is over, clients may have gone through their SNAP funds already–and face a food shortage for the end of the month.

We weren’t about to sit back and let this happen, of course. HVCS is assisting clients in this situation through the food closet program. With support from generous donors, corporations and foundations, we’re offering our clients double the amount of food bags this month.

According to Hunger Solutions New York, which funds our Nutrition Outreach and Education Program, in March SNAP benefits will be issued early in order to assist SNAP participants to bridge the gap between the January payments and their regularly scheduled March benefits. All March SNAP benefits will be issued by March 7th.

We are committed to ensuring that clients and their families have enough nutritious food to eat no matter what happens in Washington.

Special Deadline for SNAP Recipients: February Recertifications

Monday, January 14th, 2019

If you are a SNAP recipient (one of our NOEP clients) please note that today is the special deadline for recertifying, if your recertification date falls in February. This special advance deadline was enacted by New York State in response to the Federal government’s partial shutdown.

Please contact the NOEP Coordinators in your county.

For Dutchess County please contact Elena Dalia at (845) 360-9722

For Ulster County please contact Catherine Cortale at (845) 579-2558

For Orange County please contact Debbie LaBoy at (845) 522-5761

For Sullivan County please contact Pat Ocasio at (845) 842-1232


Alert: NYS SNAP Benefits & Government Shutdown

Monday, January 14th, 2019

There is some important news for clients of our Nutrition Outreach and Education Program (NOEP).

New York State has taken the necessary steps to ensure that February recurring SNAP benefits (formerly known as food stamps) will be issued to all SNAP recipients in New York State by January 20th. If you are one of our NOEP clients,  please note that this January 20th SNAP benefit is not an extra payment, but rather an early issuance of February’s benefit. Your NOEP Coordinator will work with you on how to budget accordingly since it will be coming earlier. It is also important to note that all households that require recertifications for February should complete all the necessary steps as soon as possible and before January 18th. Local SNAP offices are working hard to have these recertifications processed before January 31st. At this time, there is no information about how March benefits will be impacted. If you have any further questions please reach out to the NOEP Coordinators in your county:

For Dutchess County please contact Elena Dalia at (845) 360-9722

For Ulster County please contact Catherine Cortale at (845) 579-2558

For Orange County please contact Debbie LaBoy at (845) 522-5761

For Sullivan County please contact Pat Ocasio at (845) 842-1232

HVCS Receives New Nutrition Services/SNAP Grant

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

Hudson Valley Community Services (HVCS) announced today that it has received new funding from Hunger Solutions NY to start a Nutritional Outreach and Education Program this summer in three Hudson Valley counties. The main goal of the program is to connect individuals, working families and seniors who are food-insecure and need nutritional support with a variety of services, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. Offering nutrition assistance to millions of eligible, low-income individuals and families, SNAP is the largest program in the domestic hunger safety net. SNAP is the new term for what was called the “food stamp” program.

Starting July 1, HVCS will hire three new staff members to perform outreach in Orange, Sullivan and Ulster counties to find working families and seniors who qualify for SNAP but who are not yet signed up for services. The program targets people who have nutritional deficiencies but may not know that they qualify for more help. “SNAP-eligible working families with children are both everywhere, yet not easily identifiable,” says Jeff Kraus, HVCS’ Executive Director. “Families assume that they are not eligible for SNAP because they are working, that SNAP is contingent on other assistance programs, and that they need to be citizens. But SNAP is more widely available.” Kraus also stresses that social stigma plays a role. “People think that they don’t ‘look’ like they need SNAP. And if they’re not receiving other benefits, they might also be unfamiliar with procedures for accessing government programs.” He cites the traditional government program office hours as an example. “If you’re working an hourly rate job, you can’t leave between 9 and 5 to go into an office to fill out paperwork. Our staff will be able to work around such barriers.”

HVCS staffers will guide applicants through the sign-up process and can connect them to emergency food closets and other services while the application is pending.

The new program will also identify and sign up senior citizens who face their own unique nutritional shortages. Older adults are often unaware of the eligibility considerations that affect them, and may suffer from mobility and transportation limitations. “Seniors also fear the potential stigma of getting help,” Kraus says. “Our goal is to remove any barriers that keep people from accessing this vital food program.” Staff will provide outreach and education to individuals with complex needs, such as mental health or substance abuse issues, as well as immigrants, who often assume they are not eligible for many programs due to their residency status.

“We are thrilled that Hunger Solutions NY has entrusted HVCS to start this program in Orange, Sullivan and Ulster counties,” Kraus says. “We’re creating jobs while helping the hungry and those on the edge of hunger. This is a win-win for the Hudson Valley.”

New Video About Our THRIVES North Nutrition Program Now on Our YouTube Channel!

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

Earlier this fall, we sat down with Krista Adams, who works out of our Poughkeepsie office in our THRIVES North nutrition program. Hear what she’s got to say about the program and what makes it so special.

If you’d like to contribute to our nutrition programs or emergency food closets, please visit our Donate page.